Lexington, Ky. (VUAD)– Vanderbilt fell behind early at No. 16 Kentucky on Friday night and never recovered in a 10-3 loss at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Making his first career Friday night start in Southeastern Conference play, Patrick Raby ran into trouble in the second inning. Riley Mahan singled to open the inning and moved to third on a Tristan Pompey double. Raby issued his second walk of the night to load the bases before forcing in the first run of the game by hitting Troy Squires. Raby finally got an out by striking out Connor Heady but back-to-back singles from Marcus Carson and Evan White made it 3-0 Wildcats (20-7, 6-1). The Commodores (17-10, 3-4) looked to be out of the inning with a double play ball up the middle but Connor Kaiser’s throw to first was errant allowing two runs to score and make it 5-0 Kentucky after two innings.
The Commodores got on the board in the sixth thanks to three singles. Consecutive base hits from JJ Bleday and Connor Kaiser put two runners aboard for the first time for VU. Stephen Scott’s single to center field scored Bleday and left runners on the corners with one out but the Vandy offense failed to score another run in the inning. Jason Delay added his second home run of the season in the seventh, lining a two-run shot off the left field foul pole.
Raby took the loss after allowing a career-high seven runs, six earned, on nine hits over five innings. Paxton Stover turned in three innings out of the bullpen, giving up three unearned runs on one hit.
Kentucky starter Sean Hjelle earned the win with seven sharp innings. The big right-hander gave up three runs on five hits and matched a career-best with nine strikeouts. Pompey led the way for the Cats’ offense with three hits, three runs and three RBIs, including his third homer of the season.
The Commodores turn to Kyle Wright tomorrow afternoon against Kentucky’s Zach Logue. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.